Tube arcing

Last revised by Andrew Murphy on 23 Mar 2023

Tube arcing occurs when there is a short-circuit within the tube, typically from the cathode to the tube envelope. The result is a temporary loss of x-ray output and a localized artifact. 

A number of causes of tube arcing are recognized 1

  1. insulator surface flashover
  2. insulator breakdown
  3. vacuum flashover
    • most common
    • due to particulate impurities or gas within the tube
    • new tubes are more prone to this problem due to residual gas

A small amount of tube arching is not uncommon and modern scanners have automated processes to remove the artifact from the final images 1,2

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